ALFA ROMEO is without doubt one of the best names in motoring historical past.
Pre-Warfare it was a reputable rival to Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Bugatti.
Earlier than Enzo Ferrari constructed his personal vehicles, he ran a crew of Alfa Romeos.
Within the Sixties it constructed an excellent line of sports activities saloons and coupes, simply the equal of immediately’s BMW 3 Sequence and 4 Sequence.
As Jeremy Clarkson defined on High Gear: “Nobody can name themselves a automotive fanatic until they’ve owned an Alfa Romeo.”
Right now, Alfa as soon as once more has a Method 1 crew. It’s proving its world ambition by using the primary Chinese language F1 driver, Guanyu Zhou.
On the street, the Giulia saloon and Stelvio massive crossover are the best-looking and best-to-drive of their varieties.
Everybody loves Alfa Romeo and needs it to do nicely.
However hardly anybody does the factor that can make Alfa Romeo do nicely – purchase one. Gross sales are on the ground.
Oddly, Alfa finds itself in a comparable place to Jaguar. Excessive consciousness, low picture.
Everybody is aware of the grand historical past, however there’s a blockage to purchasing one.
For Jaguar, it’s in all probability the idea they’re pushed solely by crusty colonels on the best way to the nineteenth gap. For Alfa, it’s reminiscences of patchy dealerships and dodgy reliability.
As Alfa’s CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato candidly instructed me: “Return to the Seventies, our fathers’ and grandfathers’ vehicles. They mentioned ‘I really like Alfa however I’ve to purchase two to make one’.”
So despite the fact that you would possibly assume Alfa’s place is making costly quick vehicles, he says the primary job is to make some revenue by selecting off the low-hanging fruit.
“I can’t be out of the principle segments. What are the largest and fastest-growing segments? Crossovers.”
Particularly compact and small ones, he says.
So here’s a new £35k Alfa. Not a swoopy sports activities automotive for 100 grand, however a crossover the scale of an Audi Q3 or BMW X1.
It’s referred to as the Tonale. Pronounced like finale. Not like toenail.
OK, so basically small crossovers aren’t the sexiest issues within the multi-storey, however of its form this one is kind of swoopy-looking. Beneath the bonnet there’s a selection of mild-hybrid 1.6-litre, or an underwhelming diesel.
Extra intriguing is the highest model, which has a petroleum engine for the entrance wheels and electrical drive to the again ones. Whole energy is 275bhp.
You may as well plug it in and journey about 27 miles on that electrical drive alone. Nice for emissions and company-car tax.
Imparato has addressed the unreliability head-on by providing a five-year assure. To guard secondhand values, every automotive has its personal non-fungible token, a kind of crypto certificates. This data the spec, the service data, mileage, even the variety of instances the battery is charged.
It ought to see an finish to clocking, and make used consumers extra assured.
Alfa says the Tonale is a brand new begin. It isn’t. It’s extra of a placeholder.
If it succeeds it’ll maintain the model alive till the following era of quick, sexy-looking Alfa Romeos arrive, from 2025. They are going to, says Imparato, be true Alfas. However all electrical. He guarantees these new electrical vehicles may have the identical efficiency, vary and potential recharging velocity as immediately’s petrol ones.
“Primarily based on what we all know now, after 2027 I’ll promote solely battery-electric vehicles,” Imparato explains.
He says Alfa is just too small to develop all-new petrol vehicles in addition to electrical. “You may’t be half-pregnant.”
Though oddly sufficient the petrol-electric Tonale reveals that, quickly not less than, you could be.
CHANGE THIS – IT IS WRONG AND FOR A LEXUS NOT ALFA
Engine: 2.5-litre petrol hybrid
0-62mph: 7.7 secs
High velocity: 124mph
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8357473/alfa-romeo-tonale-crossover/ Ultimately a crossover to set pulses racing